Dr. Julianne Hanson

Psychologist - Chaplain - Intuitive

Spiritual Psychologist from Maui Explains Origin of ‘Prayer Guided Psychotherapy’

Posted by admin - December 8th, 2009

Aloha from Maui, Hawaii!
When I needed emotional support and wanted a counselor, I looked for an experienced, credentialed professional who had a spiritual orientation to their work.  I was in Southern California at the time, and thought there would be many such individuals from which to choose.
The counselors I found fell largely into two groups–either traditionally trained therapists who viewed spiritual experience as a symptom, or alternative practitioners who lacked the training to guide anyone through a difficult psychological  passage. With the first group, the traditionalists, I could count on standardized treatment plans and professional ethics, but not an understanding of my spiritual needs.  The alternative group offered a variety of intriguing healing modalities that acknowledged my spiritual practice.  However, they had no clinical experience with psychological disorders and would not have recognized the need for a treatment different from their own.
I found a few licensed therapists who described themselves as spiritual–and who stated they were open to talking about their clients’ religious beliefs if the client brought it up.  None of them felt it was appropriate to actually counsel clients on the impact or practice of their beliefs.
Then there were the counselors affiliated with a particular religion or church.  These therapists would prescribe the group’s scriptures and offer clients their group’s interpretation of the beliefs required for peace
of mind.
All these individuals appeared well-intentioned.  Yet, I didn’t feel any of them were offering the depth of understanding I was seeking.
My insurance didn’t cover any of the more ‘spiritual’ licensed therapists–I decided to try the psychologist referred by my HMO.   Being a doctoral student in psychology, I told this attractive woman my diagnosis,  ’Situational Disorder w/mixed emotional features.’  The lady was outraged and pointed out that I was the patient, she was the therapist and would determine what was wrong with me.  I did not return.
Happily, a couple of colleagues supported me through this challenging time.
When I was able to meditate on the entire adventure of finding the right therapist, I resolved to become the kind of counselor for whom I had been searching.
In my next post, I will explain the philosophy of  ‘Prayer Guided Psychotherapy,’ the basic components a client would encounter, and my own orientation to the work.

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